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Forty Years in an Enchanted Forest
Enchanted Forest, a theme park south of Salem, celebrates its 40th anniversary this week.
Roger Tofte, its founder, began construction on the theme park in 1964. He started with the purchase of 20 acres of land and built it, he says, one bag of concrete at a time. The initial construction of the park was financed by Roger's job as a highway draftsman. He also repaired watches on the side. Just before the park opened in 1971, Roger and his wife Mavis secured a loan for $2,000, which they spent on souvenirs for the park and other odds and ends. They charged one dollar admission for adults and 50 cents for children.
In the beginning, it was a hobby. But by 1973 Roger was confident that the park could support him and his family, so he quit his day job. More attractions were added over the years, including a haunted house in 1974, a bobsled roller coaster in the mid-80s, and the Big Timber Log Ride in 1996. Roger and Mavis have since turned over operation of the park to their daughters Susan and Mary.
Have you visited Enchanted Forest? What do you remember about it? How do you think it compares to larger, more commercial theme parks?
- Roger Tofte: Creator and founder of Enchanted Forest Theme Park
- Susan Vaslev: Manager of Enchanted Forest Theme Park